Dempsey Cannot Rule Out Military Escalation After Syria Strike

Legislators question Chairman of the Joint Chiefs as well as Secretary of State John Kerry.
5:21 | 09/04/13

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Transcript for Dempsey Cannot Rule Out Military Escalation After Syria Strike
He was chairman. We've heard a lot today about credibility of United States. It seems to me that we have a credibility problem that calls our foreign policy in the Middle East. Is inconsistent. Our enemies -- really don't know what our foreign policy is. Our friends don't know what it is and I'm not -- sure Americans know what our foreign policy is in the Middle East. And we've seen it play out with different reasons. Go -- in two different countries removing. People from. Leadership and putting somebody else in or be approved of it tacitly approve them. I liked my friend mr. -- from Austin. Are concerned about the players on both sides. There is no -- side in this civil war. You got Hezbollah a bunch of guys. 01 side. And you have another terrorist groups. All the other side. Including album of the -- and ulcer. I do believe that these are powerful groups -- both sides. History will find out who ends up winning this civil war in the new factory and the religious connotation in this civil war. And you really do have a real problem we did have a real problem on our hands. Markets -- and is now specifically we want to do something to punish. Mr. bad -- aside no question about it he's a bad guys wasting good air -- But we're -- -- it is gonna shoot her -- all over the now. We're not gonna take -- out because we don't want at this stable. Stabilize the civil war going on between two different sides if I understand what that policy -- -- So let's do that let's assume we -- there elements that general Dempsey this question first. A -- -- we do that whatever it is -- to stabilize. The weapons of mass destruction. Get rid of them I assume that's what we're trying to do eliminate the weapons of mass destruction. Even though -- secretary hagel said they're getting those things from Syria from Russia which they -- -- -- more weapons I don't know. So we do that. -- fights back -- and has to make it. He retaliates against us. It's -- -- on retaliate against his rule all the 'cause we have come into this civil war. So they shoot back. Then what -- he didn't wants Americans. Or engaged now in escalated. Specific strike not are accused him but the -- choose. Do we escalate -- that we fight back. And I -- general Dempsey got a tough situation on your hands what do we do if they. Literally shoot back that Americans. Are friends the Israelis. First just to clarify this isn't that eliminating chemical weapons that's not possible given the numbers and the distribution of them it's about. Convincingly as senators shame that it's unacceptable within two years of and that's the limit of this military operation. -- posture for the possibility of retaliation Lancashire here that our regional partners -- well. Let me just. X asked that question a little bit we will more clarification from if you can -- -- -- -- military -- to the point that's great we're glad you're in charge. Can you see that escalating -- -- with US military involvement. In to reach. Have you made contingency plan for that happening whatever their reaction he has the Syrians reaction to us specifically. Have you -- contingency plans for us. Being in an escalated. Military operation. In the region. In this spirit -- compliment on -- consideration is yes. And you singing do you see escalation a possibility US military escalation. In the region as a possibility. I can never drive the risk of escalation to zero but I think. I think that the limited purpose the partnerships we have in the region that contributions that we'll see it from others I think begins to limit that risk. What one last question since a -- and -- out of time here. -- did to you you mentioned earlier that you. You're concerned about removing a sawed from power you wanna kit -- you elaborate on that and if so what's your elaboration. Well -- still. Against separate from this conversation which is about the limited purpose of deterring and degrading. I still am cautious about whether we we should use US military force in support of the opposition for the opposition for the purpose of tipping the balance. Think there's other ways we can contribute to that through the development of a moderate opposition. But I I remained cautious about taking the opposition's role here in the civil war thank mr.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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